Historical Ties/Origin- Tyler
As said before, the music of the 1970s was Soul, R&B, and Funk. This music stemmed from previously created genres such as jazz (fusion) and blues. The music of the 70s was the most pivotal time in terms of Black creativity and artistry. The 70s was a time period which helped finalize the stereotypical black sound that filled with bass, syncopated rhythms, and heavy beats that are relatable to all its listeners. While the term “soul” has been an important aspect of black music documented all the way back to times of Negro Spirituals to present day Blues music, Soul music got its origination from the commercialization and commodification of the beginnings of modern day rhythm and blues music (R&B) in the early 1960s. Rhythm and Blues music was first indoctrinated in the 1940s when “Jump Blues” started to take over the musical scene. In Jump blues the tempos were sped up and the beats pulsated, but the lyrics remaned typical Blues lyrics about sadness, woe, and tribulations.
Musical Elements – Tyler
Funk is characterized by a rhythmic onbeat/offbeat structure usually played in the bass line. Funk also has a lot of guitar riffs allowing there to be intense grooves. It uses similarly extended chords that are usually found in bebop jazz.
Rhythm and Blues (R&B) has a distinctive production style including drum-machine backed tracks and soulful vocals. Soul was the blanket term used in the 70s to encompass many forms of “soulful black” music. R&B was placed underneath this blanket simply because Soul music in the 1970s was derived from gospel style music but with secular lyrics, much like Blues music with came before it.
Leah Wardlaw Commodification
The commodification of 70s Black music can be seen most evidently through its expansion into the broadway and theater scene. Shows such as 7-time Tony award winner “The Wiz”, Eubie, and Roots with compositions by Quincy Jones established black music of the 70s as a pivotal era for music. To expand upon the spread of 70s black music it is critical that there is a recognition of the use of genre fusion throughout the 70s. Genres such as fusion jazz and classical soul music brought about a sense of unity among groups that had previously never intertwined. This marks the projection of black innovation on every creative blank space present within the time.
As the emergence of mixed genres became more prominent, many white people sought to capitalize on this unifying effect. Artists such as Dan Hartman marketed himself as a white r&b singer. With this emergence of white people borrowing the sound of the time period, this placed emphasis on the segregational state of establishments of which, by this point, are quickly falling apart. The eclecticism of society and emphasis on peace, unity, and what Louis Johnson referred to as “people music” created an idea that this music is accessible to everyone and also able to be appreciated by everyone. Shows like soul train and open dance floors helped also to open the doors of society to appreciate the new sound
Leah Wardlaw – Social Implications
The war in Vietnam sparked cause for action amongst black artists to further politically charge their work. Artists such as Edwin Starr criticized the presence of black men’s involvement in the propulsion of adversarial forces within the Vietnam War. Additionally, artists like Marvin Gaye sang a tune of hope urging us to work to “save the world”. This tonal shift from songs of protest songs to unification marked the social progression of the era. Additionally, the manipulations of perception lead to the commercialization of the music and a push for its relevance which made the sound more consumable in its ironic ambiguity. Black 70s music marked the delineation from solely narrative music to music and aesthetics which focused on celebration of black surrealist thought and creativity following in line with the newly emergent psychedelic era. In this same way the new celebration of abstraction emphasized the dichotomous divisions between black music and the previous retrospectively bleak and routinely structured white musical sounds. As depicted from Nina Simone’s “Young Gifted and Black” to Parliament’s “Mothership Connection”, the music of the 70s became an extension of the pro-black movement of the 60s in that the 70s romanticized the previously demonized eccentric structural build of Black culture. This embrace of excentricism also brought with it a psychosurrealist presentation of music as seen in the science fiction and psychedelic inspired George Clinton. This can be said to be representative of a push for society to move toward a more free and open future which is more accepting of conceptual idea outside of those already proposed as well as a general shift towards dramatic progressive attitudes. This unification process reflected the current times as establishments such as the congressional black caucus and The People United to Save Humanity, founded by the Reverend Jesse Jackson were created. This added to the pluralistic nature of the time both in music and in everyday life.
Social Movements Maya Brown
The 1970s was the perfect bridge blending the rebellious phase of the 60s into the happily characterized age of the 80s. Although Woodstock happened in 1969, it was a kick-off that perfectly defined the era behind it. Shortly after the idea of rebellion shortly died down, leaving people to find a new outlet for releasing frustration found in punk music.
Characterized as hippie or “yuppie” living, it was filled with moments that promoted free thinking, equality, and loving each other. Major movements included the Black rights, LGBT rights, women rights, anti-communism, and environmental reform.
Nia Jackson – Important Performers
The 1970s was an era when many of the biggest African American performers of the century began making a name for themselves. There are ten Black performers/groups that were the most popular during this decade. The first is Stevie Wonder: a Rhythm & Blues/ Soul singer, songwriter, and musician. The second is Marvin Gaye: a Rhythm & Blues/Soul/ Funk singer, songwriter, and record producer. The third is James Brown: a Soul/ Funk singer, songwriter, record producer, and bandleader.
The fourth is the late and great Aretha Franklin: a Soul/Jazz/Blues/Gospel/Pop singer, songwriter, and activist. The fifth is The Jackson 5: a Pop/Soul/Funk group of singers, dancers, and performers.
The next artist is Bob Marley, who is not American born, but was extremely successful in the United States, is a Reggae singer, songwriter, and activist. Next is Earth, Wind, & Fire: a Soul/Funk/Jazz/Pop/Rock band of singers, and performers. The next artist is Al Green: a Rhythm & Blues/ Soul/ Gospel singer, songwriter, and record producer. The ninth group of artists is the Temptations: Rhythm & Blues/Soul/Funk singers, songwriters, and performers. The final group of artists is The Spinners: Rhythm & Blues/ Soul group of singers, songwriters, and performers.These artists have been staples in the African American community, and the collections of their music are considered classicals.
Nia Jackson – Popular Genres
The most popular musical genres amongst African Americans during the 1970’s, as clearly shown from the most popular artists, were Soul, Rhythm & Blues (R&B), and Funk. The most successful Black musicians and performers fell into these three genres. Soul music is a popular genre within the African American community that combines elements of gospel, R&B, and Jazz. R&B is a popular genre within the African American community that combines elements of pop, soul, and funk. Funk music is another popular genre within the African American community that is highly rhythmic, and combines elements of soul, jazz, and pop.
Solo performers were common, but quintets and bands were also very popular during the 1970’s: The Jackson 5, The Spinners, and The Temptations. During this decade, unlike present day, it was extremely common to see a Black R&B Band.
As said before, the music of the 1970s was Soul, R&B, and Funk. This music stemmed from previously created genres such as jazz (fusion) and blues. The music of the 70s was the most pivotal time in terms of Black creativity and artistry. The 70s was a time period which helped finalize the stereotypical black sound that filled with bass, syncopated rhythms, and heavy beats that are relatable to all its listeners.
Today we can still here major sound influences that were born from the music of the 1970s. Most consistently practiced is the layering of electrical instruments and syncopated baselines, and the repetitive vocals that were a main characteristic of disco music. Groups such as Daft Punk and Arcade Fire use a combination of ascending vocals and intense bass guitar in their music. This music catalyst the trend of dance music that could also be relaxing.